Sunday, April 24, 2016

Poetry and motion, & That anniversary.

Monday's Frome Poetry Cafe was also the launch of Rosie Jackson's superb collection The Light Box at The Garden Cafe. Nearly fifty people, amazingly, found seats or standing room to listen to Rosie reading her acclaimed poems examining love, art and life with precision and passion. The title poem refers to a container for exotic moths, appropriate for these luminous, delicate, personal glimpses. We had an exceptionally good open mic session too, twenty readers including popular regulars, debut performers, and published poets from Bath, Bristol & even London, as surprise visitor Tamar Yoseloff delighted us with her contribution ~ and her comment: "I wish we had an event like this in London."  
Then on Tuesday, another feast of words, as Six Acclaimed Writers read at St James Wine Vaults in Bath. Frome's Claire Crowther is one of this group who meet for 'writers' retreats', as is Tamar (who I first met six years ago co-tutoring on Crete) Sue Rose, Siriol Troup, Anne Berkeley. Joined by Bath's Carrie Etter, their varied voices created a brilliant event, made even more fun by late supper at Rustico Bistro.

Back in Frome there was an interesting mini-residency at the Archangel where Dan Guido, 'abstract expressionist raw self-taught artist' from New York, has taken over the upstairs room and is filling it with raw expressionist abstracts. Dan is immensely friendly & forthcoming: he quotes Kahil Gibran on his bio, paints with tiles, wants to create massive pieces for stage backdrops, and identifies with Jean-Michel Basquiat. If you miss his constantly expanding exhibition this time, look out for his next trip ~ he's already hooked on Frome.
The Archangel Sunday afternoon music session this week featured Amelia Orgill & Steve Driffield, while the Griffin on Saturday night gave us a double bonanza: Backwood Redeemers plus Captain Cactus and the Screaming Harlots. What a time, you could well say, to be alive... except that both these brilliant band dress the part with dramatic panache so a touch of stage lighting would be appreciated... then I could include some photographs!

And now to Velvet Bottom: I tried to uncover some literary connection as pretext for including my long walk in this magical place of overgrown lead-mines and bluebell woods near Cheddar Gorge, but all google provided was a letter written by Coleridge including the comment 'We visited Cheddar'. Tolkien was allegedly inspired by the gorge when describing Helm's Deep though, and nearby Long Wood Nature Reserve is spookily reminiscent of fantasy landscapes, so that will do.

Finally, it was the big Shakespeare anniversary this week ~ his death this time, 400 years ago, which has been settled on as the same day as his birth rather in the way any religion decides its dates: for convenience in the absence of actual records. The only recorded fact is that it followed a heavy night of drinking. Personally I think we should instead have honoured the 390th anniversary of the extraordinary writer of the plays credited to 'Shakespeare' on April 9th, when Frances Bacon died. If you think this is the stuff of conspiracy theory, read The Shakespeare Myth and the Stratford Hoax, a convincing and succinct summary by Walter Ellis printed 1937.  Like others since (including Mark Twain, Henry James, Sigmund Freud, Charlie Chaplin, John Gielgud, and recently Mark Rylance), Mr Ellis feels that rightful credit is suppressed by the Stratford industry ~ the catchpenny show-shop, he calls it, though it's a multi-million business now. Thanks to my brother Pete for sending me this pamphlet and reminding me of childhood conversations with my father, an erudite supporter in the Bacon camp.

No comments: